In Trying to Show That There Are No “Bad Jews,” a New Book Declares That the Only Good Jews Are Leftists

In her recent book Bad Jews: A History of American Jewish Politics and Identities, Emily Tamkin provides a loose survey of the past century of Jewish life in the U.S., intertwined with some reflections about her own experiences. Elliot Kaufman writes in his review:

Tamkin claims to argue that there’s no such thing as a good Jew or bad Jew. But her heart isn’t in it. At every opportunity, she valorizes her bad Jews, the ones who vilify Israel and the American Jewish community. They’re the heroes. Eli Valley, the Jewish cartoonist known for drawing Israelis and pro-Israel Americans as Nazis, she fawns over.

The flip side is that Tamkin clearly thinks her good Jews are bad. The major Jewish organizations are portrayed throughout as morally indefensible; even Jewish leadership in the civil-rights movement is unconvincingly labeled a “myth.” Anti-Communists and Israel supporters are cast as fear- and guilt-ridden tyrants, synagogue-goers as conformist and xenophobic. In her most disgusting passage, Tamkin blames the deadly 2018 shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on Donald Trump and then immediately uses the tragedy to dump on Orthodox Jews—themselves the victims of most anti-Semitic violence—for several paragraphs.

At the end, Tamkin has one last somersault to perform: excusing left-wing anti-Semitism. . . . Senator Bernie Sanders, it is made clear, is the ideal type [of politically engaged Jew]. At last, and in so many words, we have Tamkin’s elusive definition of a good Jew: a leftist.

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Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry, Anti-Zionism, Bernie Sanders

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy